Salt of the Earth is a vibrant eatery, brimming with character and flavour, and my all-time favourite destination for lunch.
Situated, most unexpectedly, at the end of a row of terraced houses in Carleton (near Poulton), the enticing frontage catches your eye and hints at the delights to be found inside.
Described as a delicatessen, Salt of the Earth offers a whole lot more – extensive breakfast, brunch and lunch menus; takeaway food that can be phoned ahead or delivered; private functions and outside catering; and on Fridays, evening tapas.
It’s an independent, family-run business and it shows; the owners remember all their customers and seem genuinely pleased to see you! Step inside and you’re greeted with a colourful and upbeat venue that is clearly a labour of love.
A collection of mismatched wooden tables and chairs are dotted haphazardly across two dining floors with breakfast bar seating available at the core of activity on the ground floor. Upstairs you’ll find the Dining Hall with whitewashed walls and painted floorboards and the Common Room, furnished with books, board games and armchairs just begging to be curled up in. Chandeliers, fairy lights, mirrors and wall art adorn each room and it all combines to create a charming and welcoming environment to indulge in some leisurely dining. There are also some tables outside for al fresco eating, when weather permits.
The menu is, in my opinion, the most imaginative and varied in the area, with dishes inspired by many different cultures, from the traditional English bacon sandwich to an exotic Spanish salad.
Everything is cooked to order, the bread freshly baked and ingredients locally sourced, and the menu changes to reflect seasonal food. Honest, quality food cooked with passion and flair is guaranteed.
You’ll find breakfast dishes (served until 11.30am) such as banana split porridge, hot and cold sandwiches, soup of the day, crepes, salads and platters, all with food combinations that will excite you and leave you in turmoil over what to choose!
Take the Middle Eastern platter for instance – lemon and mint infused halloumi, sweet potato falafel, chickpea hummus, dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), guindilla peppers (Spanish chillies), Moroccan couscous and toasted breads. Or the Mexican crepe – refried beans, guacamole, feta cheese and salsa dressed with lime and coriander. The only way to solve such a dilemma is for everyone to order a different dish and share.
Then there are the specials, which are posted on Salt of the Earth’s Facebook page, and frequently cause me to salivate at my desk if I happen to catch the day’s offering while at work. At the time of writing, specials include a Beef and Blue Burger of hot beef, blue cheese, pancetta and crispy onions served on a toasted brioche bun with hand cut chips and a Belgian waffle with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce.
There’s a good range of hot and cold vegetarian options available and something for the traditional as well as the adventurous eater. Desserts are no less impressive; a variety of delicious home baked cakes served in huge wedges, cupcakes and slices. And the drinks menu is extensive, with a beverage for every day of the year – soft drinks such as shandy and ginger beer, fruit smoothies, milkshakes, speciality coffees, teas (served in a pot with china cup and saucer) and hot chocolate.
On my last visit, two of my party chose from the brunch menu (served until 2pm) – an omelette of chorizo, feta and manchego cheese, served with salad for me and an American breakfast of French toast, pancetta and maple syrup for my friend.
My sister opted for a hot sweet potato, falafel and halloumi sandwich, again served with salad, and we shared a portion of sweet potato fries with aioli (a tangy type of mayonnaise flavoured with garlic).
Our food, which was as pleasing to the eye as to the taste buds, was fresh, hot, bursting with flavour and filling, just as I’ve come to expect here. Who made the best selection? A difficult decision but we all agreed that the American breakfast was an inspired and indulgent choice for an early Saturday lunch.
The bill for three meals and four drinks came to £24 – excellent value for money for such wonderful food and friendly service.
If you live locally and have never visited, I urge you to stop what you’re doing and make a booking immediately (you can book but don’t need to). And if you’re further afield, let me assure you, it is well worth making a special journey. Whether you’re catching up with friends, enjoying a family outing, treating yourself or even nursing a hangover, a visit to Salt of the Earth is an absolute joy in every respect.